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I have a tool caddie. It is a bucket with lots of pockets. I have every tool organized and nicely arranged. If I have to fix something, I just take the tool bucket to the job and I tackle the task at hand. One of the doors swelled up with all the rain and moisture we had. “No problem,” I thought. “I will take the door off the hinges and plane it down.” I went to my nice bucket, but my hammer was gone. So I asked my brother, who works for us, if he had it. He replied that it was in Maine where he lives. I grumbled. It is what we do when we run into a snag in the road, or find a cog in the wheel. When the Israelites ran into a problem in the desert, they grumbled. Here is why they grumbled.
When they left Egypt in freedom, they entered the desert where they found no grocery stores, banana trees, or sheep wandering around. So they grumbled. This did not help their situation. So they turned to God, and He sent them food for one day only. That is an important detail. He did not make a huge reservoir and set up supermarkets, so that they would be well off for months, perhaps years. No only one day of food. Why? So that they would have to do the same thing the next day. They must go to God. If they are going to have a strong relationship with God, they need to talk to God every day. They need to experience God in their lives every day. “Every day” means that they would understand that they were always important and valuable to God. When we pray the “Our Father,” we say, “give us this day our daily bread.” We do not pray, “give us amazon.com.”
I went to the Holy Land several years ago. We were on a bus traveling from the Sea of Galilee region to Jerusalem. A few miles outside the city, I looked out the window and saw nothing but dirt and gravel. The bus stopped, and we all got out. There was a small patch of grass near the road. I wondered what significant biblical event happened at this place. Our tour guide said to us, “Note this patch of grass. It says in the psalm that the shepherd leads his flock to verdant pasture. Here it is, your verdant pasture. The shepherd brings his sheep here to eat. The sheep are going to devour this grass up like lawnmowers. When the sheep have eaten all the grass, they are not worried. The sheep do not say, ‘Oh no, we ate all the grass now what are we going to do? We will die in this deserted area.’ They are not worried because they have a good shepherd. They learn to trust their shepherd who knows where the next patch of grass is located.” It is true. Every day the shepherd finds verdant pasture. After a while, the sheep never worry because they follow the shepherd every day. When we say we have a good shepherd, it means that we never have a reason to worry.
Jesus said, do not worry about what you are to eat, what you are to wear, or about your very life. The only way you can have a great relationship with God is we have to talk to God and experience God every day. The next time something goes against us, or the wheel falls off our cart, or when it is difficult to do the simplest task, instead of grumbling, we have another choice. Talk to God.Back to All Homilies